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Encyclopedia > Kannada alphabet

Alphabet of the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages in India.



The language has 49 characters in its alphabet and is phonetic. The Kannada character set is almost identical to that of other Indian languages. The number of written symbols, however, is far more than the 49 characters in the alphabet, owing to the fact that different characters can be combined to form compound characters (ottaksharas). Each written symbol in the Kannada script corresponds with one syllable, as opposed to one phoneme in languages like English. The Kannada writing system is an abugida, with consonants appearing with an inherent vowel.

The alphabet is classified into three categories: swaras (or vowels), vyanjanas (or consonants) and yogavaahas (part vowel/part consonants).

Note: Unicode character entities used below. You will need a font that supports Kannada to see the characters. English transliterations based on Unicode character names listed next to symbol.


There are fourteen vowels (swaras): ಅ (a), ಆ (aa), ಇ (e), ಈ (ee), ಉ (u), ಊ (uu), ಋ (rr), ೠ (between rruu and rrii); ಎ (a~), ಏ (ea), ಐ (ai), ಒ (o), ಓ (oo), ಔ (ou)


Two types of consonants are identified in Kannada—the structured consonants and the unstructured consonants. The structured consonants are classified according to where the tongue touches the palate of the mouth and are classified accordingly into five structured groups. The five consonants in each structured group, in order, are voiceless, voiceless aspirate, voiced, voiced aspirate, and nasal.

Structured consonants

Velars - ಕ (ka), ಖ (kha), ಗ (ga), ಘ (gha), ಙ (nga)

Palatals - ಚ (ca), ಛ (cha), ಜ (ja), ಝ (jha), ಞ (nya)

Retroflex - ಟ (tta), ಠ (ttha), ಡ (dd), ಢ (ddha), ಣ (nna)

Dentals - ತ (ta), ಥ (tha), ದ (da), ಧ (dha), ನ (na)

Labials - ಪ (pa), ಫ (pha), ಬ (ba), ಭ (bha), ಮ (ma)

See place of articulation for more information on tongue positions.

Unstructured Consonants

The unstructured consonants are consonants that do not fall into any of the above structures: ಯ (ya), ರ (ra), ಲ (la), ವ (va), ಶ (sha), ಷ (ssa), ಸ (sa), ಹ (ha), ಳ (lla)


The yogavaahas (part-vowel, part consonant) include the anusvara: ಂ (am), and the visarga: ಃ (ah)


The decimal numbers in the script are: ೦ (0), ೧ (1), ೨ (2), ೩ (3); ೪ (4), ೫ (5), ೬ (6), ೭ (7), ೮ (8), ೯ (9)

Kannada language
Kannada | Kannada literature | Kannada Wikipedia
Hubli kannada | Kannada language
Kannada film industry | Kannada alphabet | Kannada film | Kannada poetry

  Results from FactBites:
Kannada alphabet, pronunciation and language (275 words)
The Kannada alphabet developed from the Kadamba and Cālukya scripts, descendents of Brahmi which were used between the 5th and 7th centuries AD.
Kannada is a alphasyllabary in which all consonants have an inherent vowel.
Ahom, Balinese, Batak, Bengali, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Cham, Dehong Dai/Tai Le, Devanagari, Ethiopic, Grantha, Gujarati, Gurmukhi (Punjabi), Hanuno'o, Hmong, Javanese, Kannada, Kharosthi, Khmer, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Malayalam, Manpuri, Modi, Oriya, Phags-pa, Ranjana, Redjang, Sharda, Siddham, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Syloti Nagri, Tagalog, Tagbanwa, Tai Dam, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tocharian, Varang Kshiti
Kannada - definition of Kannada in Encyclopedia (449 words)
Kannada is a higly inflected language with three genders (masculine, feminine, neutral or common) and two numbers (singular, plural).
Kannada is mainly spoken in Karnataka in India, and to a lesser extent in the neighboring states.
Kannada is one of the 22 official languages of India and is the state official language of the state of Karnataka.
  More results at FactBites »



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